Bruce Barnes

President & CEO

Bold Vision


Bryan Kaiser

Founder and President


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President & CEO of Bold Vision, Bruce Barnes, discusses leveraging communication, excellent delivery, and managing expectations and demand.

Hello, and welcome to the ComSpark podcast, where you will get to meet today's technology thought leaders. To learn more, visit

BK: We are here today with Bruce Barnes, who is the President of Bold Vision and a senior lecturer at Ohio State University. My name is Bryan Kaiser and I'm the President and Founder of Vernovis and also part of the executive host committee for ComSpark. And I'll be your moderator today. So, let's get started. Bruce, thanks for your time.

BB: You're most welcome. Thanks for the invitation.

BK: You bet. So, in your opinion, Bruce, what is the most exciting disruptive technologies that is beginning to impact our work or lives?

BB: Well, by disruptive I am assuming that you mean basically the creation of disorder within what we'd become accustomed to - disorder. And the biggest ones that I see coming, basically the ones that are most affecting our business and how we do the business is first the expansion of smart technologies through the internet of things, which includes cloud edge computing. I would put that in there too, as well as the proliferation of artificial intelligence. And I think there's two sides to that. It's artificial learning maybe, or enhanced learning is a better term, related to not only the technologies themselves, but also the gained insight, managerial insight and analytical insight that are helping to reshape our businesses.

BK: So, how do you fuel innovation efforts on your team and within your organization?

BB: Well, by developing a structure that basically supports that, you know, it starts simply by creating an element of the corporation that that is their job, you know, to think about the future, to think beyond the moment, look beyond where we are, what we're doing, and think about the possibilities regarding what we're not asked to be doing the future in effect. Then present those possibilities back to the business and let them make the choices. But somebody's got to be out there looking at the trends and deciding what are the things that we can benefit from as an organization. That secondarily is look for special folks with a predisposition for that. You know, that that's what they do. You know, that's just their DNA. It's how they operate and give them the runway within the organization to be able to practice those kinds of things.

BK: So, Bruce, as the business needs change, how do you balance maintaining quality with meeting challenging timelines?

BB: That is effective communication, you know, and here I'm speaking about more than just words. I'm also speaking about and in some cases the nonverbal communication, which is a measure of your recognized credibility within the organization. Balance will naturally emerge, you know, and keep the, as you keep in mind that IT leaders really have four different things that they're responsible for. The first is to help the company shape demand, you know, using, recognize broad great based credibility as a peer within the business to help them narrow the always too much could do's down to the should do's.

Second piece to that is then tell the truth, you know, set expectations as to what those choices are going to mean, what they're going to accomplish, but also what some of the encumbrances are in getting there as well as what you're not going to do if you're focused on that stuff. The third is to deliver impeccably. Many people focus that as first, it's actually third, and this is where your baseline credibility emerges from that. The last piece is then leveraging all of the above to then become a leader through the resulting influence that you bring, which takes you all back to number one and helping to shape demand the balance will emerge through that process.

BK: So how, how do you suggest that you change behavior? How do you change behavior within your organization?

BB: Well, a number one by setting a good example, you know, it starts with the old adage of tone at the top, you know, people will follow the leader, you know, and if you adopt the principles and the methods that are intended to help drive the value equivalent, it's not about cost, necessarily. It's about top line and value delivery. If you are doing that through your communication, being visible in how you interact with senior management as well as your staff, and then setting the frameworks that actually incented that kind of behavior through the masses, then things started taking off.

BK: There's a lot in today's news about companies being hacked and critical data being stolen. How worried should we be?

BB: A Lot. A lot for my ongoing interactions with senior IT leaders all over the country. It is very apparent that cybersecurity remains as one of their top five concerns this year and it's a recurring theme is this for at least the last five years. This keeps popping up, you know, which is tragic when you stop to think about it and reflecting on my early CIO days and in one particular very large company, I paid my obligatory first visits to all the senior staff and asked a series of questions just to kind of dial into their mental models where they're coming from. And one of the questions was, how much time do you spend thinking about operational and illegal impacts associated with some kind of production interruption or production failure? Surprisingly, they're common answer was, well, not too much because after all, well, nothing's happened yet, you know. And in my stark surprise, I accidentally blurted out, how do you know? We've seen this tragic scenario play out much more frequently and especially in today's global technically charged environment, many bad actors and many, many bad results. It's all over the Wall Street Journal all the time. You know, we cannot afford to reduce our vigilance or our preparation, you know part of having a future state of mind futurist is that we don't predict the future, but we certainly can prepare for it. And part of that begins with an awareness and appreciation of what could be.

BK: Do we need to be concerned about our personal devices?

BB: That's an interesting question.  I think the answer is yes. However, it's not the devices that I think we need to be concerned about. You know, again, it's, the outcomes. It's the human side, you know, the carbon based, not the silicone. The devices are always there and they're always going to be useful for anybody that wants to use them in an inappropriate fashion, you know. So, I think we need to focus more on the top line. What are risk exposures, actually? What's our policy toward risk actually is, you know, and what management is tolerance toward risk actually is. Those things should be deeply aligned. Oftentimes they are not, so the focus needs to be not as much on the devices, but making sure that we have a deep understanding almost a measurable understanding of all three of those dimensions and working to bring them into alignment and the rest will take care of itself.

BK: Folks, we have run out of time. We would love to spend more time with Bruce. This is Bryan Kaiser with Vernovis. I'm with Bruce Barnes with Bold Vision and to learn more about us, please visit and we'll talk to you next time. Thank you, Bruce.

BB: Thank you very much. Much appreciated.